If you ask a hundred different Local SEO consultants “What anchor text distribution is best for inbound links?” you will likely get a hundred different answers. Back in the day, before mean old Google started handing out spankings for over optimization, the answer would have been “Use the keywords that you are trying to rank for on search engine results”. So if you were trying to rank for “Cheap Hotel Rooms”, then that keyword phrase was what you used for the anchor text of your links. Seems pretty easy, right? Well, Google doesn’t like easy. Google not only wants you to earn your links, they (he, it whatever) wants you to have a “natural” anchor text distribution for your links. What does this all mean? What is anchor text? What is anchor text distribution? Let’s take a couple of moments to break it down.
Anchor Text Influences Local SEO
Anchor text, as it relates to inbound links, is the verbiage that is used in the link itself. One of the most common anchor texts is “Click Here”. It became apparent some time ago to SEO consultants that generic anchor text like “Click Here” would be no help at all to Local SEO or any other type of SEO. It didn’t give Google any information about what the link or the site it was being directed to was all about. So some brilliant SEO consultant (no, not me) came up with the idea that if you used the keywords that you were trying to optimize your site for as the anchor text for inbound links, well, Google would be all over that and your site would get a boost in terms of relevancy for those keywords in the search engine results. Soon, everyone and their brothers were flooding the internet with highly optimized anchor text links, which means far too many links looked like our “Cheap Hotel Rooms” anchor text example.
Introducing Natural Anchor Text Distribution for Local SEO
After the tsunami of “Cheap Hotel Rooms” anchor text, Google figured things out, as it usually does, and started penalizing websites that had too many over optimized links. So once again, those brilliant SEO consultants came up with a strategy that would sooth the savage Google beast. Mix up the anchor text. Don’t use so many “money” keywords. Just sprinkle a few in with other types of anchor text. So lo and behold, the concept of Anchor Text Distribution was born, or at least paid attention to. Now you have experts saying that a certain percentage of your anchor text links should be Generic Terms, a small percentage should be Targeted Keywords, some should be Brand Names, some URLS, and some theme related or LSI based keywords. You can throw a “Miscellaneous” category in the mix as well. After all, with “natural” link creation one would expect to see a broad diversity of anchor text links. Maybe so. But as with all things Google, there really is no perfect distribution that Google wants to see, or at least they have not told us what it is. So the SEO pundits advance their own theories about the perfect mix and there lies the area of contention. What is the perfect mix? Well, I hate to say it after this long buildup, but there really isn’t one!
My Theories on Anchor Text Distribution and Local SEO
Rather than try to advance a perfect formula for anchor text distribution, I will offer 2 key points to keep in mind when selecting your text for your natural inbound links. Wait a minute, choosing your own anchor text is natural? Oh well, let’s get to it.
Don’t feel the need to go overboard with Generic anchor text. I think some SEO consultants place too much emphasis on the need for Generic terms, such as “click here” or “visit our website”. Yes, when Google first started penalizing sites for not using any and only using targeted keywords, the gut reaction was to over compensate by using a significant percentage in the overall distribution, say for instance 25% (opinions vary). But why use so many generic anchor text links, or even any at all? At this point in the history of Internet Marketing, most people know that “click here” is absolutely worthless as anchor text, except maybe to Adobe. With natural link building, you would expect that most links would have text at least somewhat relevant to the theme of the referring website, the referred to website, or both. Yes, stay away from all of your links being targeted keywords. But the point is that LSI or theme based keywords are a better option than “more here” links or something equally worthless. And after all, isn’t Google using LSI to determine the overall relevance of content now? Obviously they like themed based text, so give it to them. Save your money keywords for the High PR or Authority site links, probably in the 5 to 10% range of your total links. But again, opinions vary.
Websites with fewer links will probably get a pass from Google. Here’ the theory. In statistics, small samples really have no relevance. Flip a coin 10 times, and it’s actually possible to get either 10 heads or 10 tails. Keep flipping and eventually you will reach the expected 50/50 distribution. It may be the same with websites and anchor text. If a website only had about a 100 links, there really would be no definitive distribution that could be expected regarding anchor text. Most of them could be URL links, maybe a lot of Brand Links such as Moore Marketing Systems. But there would be too few links to really speculate. And the non-relevance of the distribution could conceivably continue until several hundred and maybe even a few thousand links are built. Yes, you don’t want to have 1,000 links to your site and all of them using the same keyword. But if you are a little top heavy with those relatively few links, will Google come slamming down on your site? I doubt it. I think that there comes a point when a site gets enough links, perhaps in the tens of thousands, that Google starts to really take a hard look at distribution. Granted, if you have a brand new site and suddenly have that many links, well, we all know what will happen. Barring such SEO stupidity, if you build up a conservative number of quality links, which are better for your site anyway, Google is probably not going to be overly concerned if your anchor text distribution is not perfect in their eyes.
Mix it up a little for the best Local SEO
When it comes to Local SEO, long tail keywords are important for targeting search engine inquiries, and usually there are a lot of them. So why be so stuck on any particular keyword when you can go after them all? That’s the philosophy you should adopt when selecting anchor text for your inbound links. Give Google a broad spectrum of theme related keywords to really let them know what your site is all about. That holds true for the content on your website as well as the anchor text of the inbound links. And if you would like some help in creating a more Google friendly website, please schedule a Free 30 minute consultation. You can click on the anchor text “schedule a Free 30 minute consultation”. Hope I don’t get penalized, I’ve used it quite a few times.